Two novel dry eye disease (DED) treatments are set to be launched in Australia by CSL subsidiary, Seqirus.
Cationorm (cationic nanoemulsion) is a hydrating and lubricating emulsion that protects the eye surface and relieves irritation due to persistent dry eyes. It will be available in both preservative free single use ampoules and multidoses.
Ikervis (ciclosporin 0.1% ophthalmic emulsion) is a treatment for severe keratitis in adult patients with DED when artificial tears are insufficient. It will be available in single use ampoules.
RESEARCH INDICATES UNMET NEED
Danielle Dowell, Seqirus Head of Commercial Australia and New Zealand said Seqirus is very excited to be entering the eye care space for the first time with the launch of Cationorm and Ikervis.
“Seqirus – and our parent company CSL – has a long history of responding to Australia’s health needs, with the patient and customer at the centre of everything we do,” said Ms Dowell.
“In addition to our world-leading work in influenza vaccines, our in-license business is built on delivering innovative medicines to Australians that otherwise would not be available. We have spent many years researching and identifying therapeutic areas that have high clinical unmet needs, and an area of focus which emerged was dry eye disease.
“Our research with people with dry eye disease, with optometrists and ophthalmologists, confirmed that despite a large number of products on the market, there was still a high level of unmet need for dry eye disease,” said Ms Dowell.
Seqirus’ 2019 market research found:
- 92% of optometrists and 71% of ophthalmologists were extremely interested or very interested in hearing about new products for the treatment of dry eye disease,
- One in two people with dry eyes wished there were more options available to treat their dry eye symptoms and found it a frustrating process to find a treatment that works for them
Seqirus has an established history as an ‘inlicense partner’ in Australia, which means the company seeks to find novel solutions to meet specific clinical needs. While these products may be successfully distributed internationally, they may not have reached Australia due to the size of the market or a reluctance by the manufacturer to complete the rigorous process of approval required by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).
In the case of Cationorm and Ikervis, both products have been commercialised in Asia and throughout Europe by Seqirus’ in-license partner, Santen S.A.S, since 2015.
“At the heart of our in-license business is delivering innovative products to Australia and addressing unmet need. So, first and foremost, we look at the clinical need, the patient need, and the clinician need. We undertake a diligent assessment to ensure we deliver solutions that work for both Australians and clinicians, and of course work in the Australian market,” Ms Dowell explained.
She said Ikervis and Cationorm offer a different approach to other eye drops in the Australian market. “These treatments offer patients with dry eye disease another option that was previously available overseas,” she added.
Recognising their potential to meet unmet patient needs, both products recently received positive PBAC recommendations and Seqirus is currently working with the PBAC to seek Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listings for both. “Both products will be available in the market later in 2021 and we will be working with existing optometry and pharmacy wholesalers to distribute them,” Ms Dowell said.
Seqirus is proud to be delivering these two new products to market during an unprecedented period of disruption which saw the company use its resources to manufacture the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for the Australian Government.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the way everyone works and interacts – not just in the pharmaceutical industry, but in all industries. While we might not have been able to get on planes or attend conferences to discuss new products, technology has been integral to ensuring our work continues and launches such as these – of both Ikervis and Cationorm – are a testament to that,” said Ms Dowell.
“Our role in manufacturing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine complemented Seqirus’ role in delivering influenza vaccines to Australians.”
Despite this diversion of efforts, she concluded, “Our in-license business – our dedication to make a difference to the health of Australians – is as strong as ever”.
To access prescribing information for Ikervis see seqirus.com.au/products.